Real Food: Raw and Sprouting
Eating a variety of foods includes munching on uncooked veggies and also seeds, nuts, and even uncooked grains. While tossing a handful of dried whole grains like spelt or wheat berries will definitely crack your teeth, there are several ways to prepare seeds, nuts, and whole grains without cooking.
Remember the chia pet from the 1980s? I cringe now, knowing the health benefits and expense of chia seeds!
Personally, I have dabbled only a touch into sprouting. Embracing and experimenting with sprouting is almost like a right of passage into healthy, clean eating; it is so easy to do, yet it does (IMO) take some time to acquire enjoyment of the green taste.
That said, I am no expert of sprouting nuts, seeds, and grains. I do, however, love to drink the water from the sprouting grains (probiotic drink called rejuvelac) instead of discarding it in the sprouting process.
My #probiotic rejuvelac was ready this morning! Can you see the slight color difference between the filtered water and the finished digestive aid? After pouring out the rejuvelac, rinse the sprouted grains well, then tilt to drain and continue with the sprouting process. BAM! #weightloss #digestion #cleaneating #wellness #morningdrink #diyprobiotics #wholegrains #findyourflavor #sprouting #raw #healthy #rejuvelac #nutritious
Health Benefits of Sprouting Raw Nuts, Seeds, and Grains
High in Nutrients and Protein
Why take time to sprout? The Nourished Kitchen is a great resource for traditional foods and preparation techniques. She advocates for sprouting grain because it:
- is high in B vitamins (they make you happy!) and folate (needed for a healthy pregnancy)
- boosts the protein content (feel full longer) while decreasing the starch (less spike in blood sugar)
Furthermore, did you know there is a Whole Grains Council?! They elaborated on how the three parts of the seed add to the nutrient value of the sprouted grain. Sprouted grains are also high in vitamin C, fiber (excellent for weight loss), and essential amino acids. They site some great research being done that links sprouted grains as health benefits:
- Spouted brown rice fights diabetes, decreases depression and fatigue in nursing moms
- Sprouted buckwheat protects against fatty liver disease
- Sprouted barley decreases blood pressure
- Sprouted grains are less allergenic for people with grain protein sensitivities
The One Big Reason To Eat Raw and Sprouted Foods
Your body is more than likely in dire need of enzymes and raw and sprouted seeds/nuts accomplish this required weight loss and healthy “ingredient” in order to fully maximize and complete the nutrition circle.
Raw foods actually are a complete package for your body; their nutritional profile is unlocked by itself during digestion-especially if raw or lightly steamed. Just like the beneficial bacteria are a living unit within the digestive system, enzymes are alive and a necessity for proper digestion and the absorption of the food itself.
The good news? Fermented or cultured foods also have enzymes! In fact, there are 5 types of active enzyme sources: animal, plant, fungal, bacterial, and yeast enzymes (source).
Radiant Life RN-researcher-blogger explains enzymes this way:
“Enzymes are activated proteins that facilitate reactions in living organisms. These specialized globular proteins act as catalysts, initiating some of the most fundamental biochemical reactions in the body. In other words, enzymes work to kick-start the very physiological processes that keep us alive and well. Adequate amounts are required for such vital actions as the production of energy, absorption of nutrients, regulation of hormones, healing of wounds and removal of toxins. Needless to say, enzymes are important- very important.”
Kayla informs us that there are three categories of enzymes- metabolic, digestive, and food enzymes, of which I am going to focus on the significance of food enzymes. Why? She states that,
“Many foods, particularly raw foods, contain naturally occurring enzymes which initiate their breakdown once consumed. These enzymes are very important in lowering the burden on the body during digestion and in promoting the optimal absorption of nutrients. Because we can only produce so many digestive enzymes, adequate amounts of food enzymes are required in order for proper digestion to occur.”
Food enzymes are something we can “control” way more easily through our food choices, AKA diet. In her post, she continues to list 7 ways to add these important enzymes into your daily foods. Check it out in her full post here: Digestive Health: 7 Ways to Balanced Enzymes.
Want to watch a video explaining enzymes? I found this one oddly captivating:
Online Resources for Learning Sprouting
Healthy Home Economist: How to Make Sprouted Grains (Recipe plus Video How-to)
- “This process reaps tremendous benefits for weight loss and sustainable grains
- “The video lesson features how to make sprouted grains at home and thus make your own sprouted flour for all your baking needs.
- “Vitamin C is produced in significant quantities when you sprout seeds. It is absent from unsprouted seeds! Many other nutrients are increased substantially from sprouting grains, as I go over in the videos.
- “Sprouted flour made from freshly ground sprouted grain is one of the 3 ways traditional societies used to prepare their grains before eating. This careful preparation of wheat and other grains is necessary in order to break down the antinutrients, toxins, and difficult to digest proteins (i.e., gluten) so as to optimize digestibility and to allow maximum absorption of nutrients.”
Food Flow: Fermenting Grains and Legumes
- “Wheat, quinoa, rice, lentils, beans, chickpeas, oats, peanuts, farro, millet, and the plethora of other grains and legumes that we eat are all similar in one way… …They are seeds
- “The good news is that these tiny foods are nutritionally packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. The other good news is that these foods can be kept for a very long time.
- “The bad news is that these “seeds” have one important evolutionarily focused task, to safeguard their nutritional bounty until the right moisture and temperature levels indicate that it is time to sprout- at which time their nutrients will be used as fuel for the young plant. This means that all of these foods have protective enzymes that make their nutrient load extremely difficult to attain.”
This Rawsome Vegan Life: Eat Your Sprouts
“Soaking is also an important step before eating other nuts or seeds, as it neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors present in them. I think of it this way: in nature, the seeds/nuts won’t be able to start growing a new plant until they soak up some moisture in the soil from the rain. So until you soak and/or sprout, they aren’t technically living foods yet.”
I highly recommend this website for great recipes, from smoothies to desserts.